Socialist Worker

Cameron admits he profited from offshore fund. Get him out!

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2498

A private matter?

A private matter? (Pic: Tim Sanders)


After days of ducking and diving, David Cameron finally admitted that he profited from his late father's offshore investment fund. Cameron had previously evaded answering direct questions about his links to Blairmore Holdings.

He has been hugely damaged by the revelations, and calls for his resignation are growing stronger by the hour.

Details of the Bahamas-based tax avoiding company set up by Ian Cameron emerged in a leak from a Panamanian law firm on Monday.

David Cameron revealed yesterday, Thursday, that for 13 years he and his wife, Samantha, held a stake in the fund that was sold for £31,500 just before he became prime minister in 2010.

His offshore stake of 5,000 units was bought for £12,497 in 1997. The profit of £19,003 came in at £300 below the threshold for paying capital gains tax.

Downing Street and the prime minister released four statements trying to “clarify” his financial affairs. Initially they said it was a “private matter”

The papers revealed that Blairmore, which was set up in 1982 and managed tens of millions of pounds on behalf of wealthy families, used anonymous "bearer shares" to protect the identity of its clients.

These were so dodgy that in government Cameron was forced to ban them.

Switzerland

Cameron has also admitted that some of the £300,000 inheritance he received from his father may have come from another offshore tax haven.

Ian Cameron managed funds in Panama, Switzerland and Jersey and was estimated by The Sunday Times to be worth £10 million. Yet, when he died in 2009 aged 77, he left only £2.74 million in his English will.

David Cameron, who was educated at Eton and Oxford, once denied that his was a life of privilege.

Francis Elliott and James Hanning, his biographers, recount him saying that he was not rich because he did not "own a private jet and I have no friends with a private jet".

When he talks down his wealth, it should be recalled that he once glibly claimed "Samantha owns a field in Scunthorpe." In fact, her father, Sir Reginald Sheffield, owns property estimated at more than £20 million.

The baronet's assets are 3,000 acres of arable land, a stately country home near York, a home in London and a hall near Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire.

Samantha owns a share in his Normanby Estate Holdings. She received about £30,000 from a management buyout of Smythson, a stationery firm where she was creative director, in 2005.

Smythson was owned by a holding company in Luxembourg and linked to an offshore trust in Guernsey. When her parents divorced her mother Annabel married Viscount Astor, whose 19,000-acre estate on Jura, off Scotland, has been held offshore in the Bahamas.

The Cameron’s live in a grand Cotswold cottage near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, and have been letting out their London town house while in Downing Street. As prime minister he gets paid £150,000 and can look forward to a generous pension.

He is King William IV’s great-great-great-great-great grandson, which makes him fifth cousin, twice removed, to the queen.

Cameron has admitted “shooting the odd pigeon”. But he neglects to mention that he has been a regular visitor to Jura where he shoots stag to pass the time.

Cameron has to go. It’s the key moment to step up every type of resistance, from the Resign! demonstration to the strikes by junior doctors, to the actions by teachers, to the pressure to nationalise steel. The People’s Assembly demonstration next Saturday will be a focus for all of these. If Iceland can drive out a prime minister, so can we!

Resign! A gathering at Downing Street, Saturday 9 April, 11am facebook.com/events/1035874763203929/

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